A recent photo on Twitter from Anne Walk, a writer in our community, sparked my curiosity so I reached out to Anne to learn more about how she organizes her editing using Scrivener.
Here’s the tweet.
Here’s the interview. Hope you enjoy. And best wishes to everyone working through the 60-Day Edit.
You got this.
JULIE: How do you stay organized while editing your novel?
ANNE: I go back to my original outline. When I first wrote my outline, I didn’t know the things I know now that I’ve written my first draft so I’ll need to get back and make changes to my outline to reflect the new directions the story has taken. My outline is provisional and may change several more times before I finally have a solid plot with a good flow but it’s a great starting blueprint.
For the story I’m working on right now, I have numerous scenes I’ve written that constitute my Rough Draft. They are not divided up into chapters. Some I may keep, some I may not. There are alternate versions of the same events, characters I later dropped because they weren’t carrying their weight, etc. So first I have to use my new outline to put these scenes in order, get rid of the ones I’ll no longer use and stub in scenes (with synopses) for new scenes needed to conform to the new outline.
JULIE: You recently tweeted a snapshot of your method for organizing files on Scrivener while editing. What can you tell us about your process?
ANNE: As the image my tweet showed, I’ve added a couple of folders to my Scrivener Binder to help me organize my work. Story Notes and Rough Draft.
When I’m not writing at my desk, I carry a writer’s notebook with me and write down descriptions, scenes, and general story notes as things come to me. Writing by hand helps make me more receptive to my creative energy. Later, I’ll transcribe the stuff that might be useful into my Story Notes folder.
My Rough Draft folder is where I put everything I cut from the manuscript no matter how horrible. Who knows if and when I’ll need those words again but it’s nice to have them just in case and keeping them helps me be ruthless in my editing because nothing is truly gone.
Notes on individual scenes are made in the info panel so that they stay with their relevant document.
As I do my First Revision, I make chapter folders and move scenes into them. This is so I can start writing the story as a series of chapters which helps me break down the story into manageable chunks and make sure each chapter is treated as its own thing with a strong story arc of its own.
I create new documents directly into my manuscript in the chapter I’m working on, copy the scenes I’m editing into it and then revise these scenes in the new document. The old scenes go into my Rough Draft folder when I’m finished.
I don’t like to jump around when I’m doing this as I find I make more continuity mistakes that way and I can also lose the voice of the story.
I’m slowly working my way through the manuscript from beginning to end. I will consider my First Revision finished when the story has been woven together and all of the stray threads have been cut off.
JULIE: Do you have any Scrivener tips to share?
ANNE: Take a snapshot of all of your scenes before you edit and label it First Draft. After each revision, take and label another snapshot. Even if you never use them, they will give you confidence in making big changes.
Don’t forget to save your files in two places not just on your device.
If you’re working alone like me, sign up for anything with a writing deadline so that you don’t get distracted and wander away from the keyboard.
JULIE: Any advice for writers on the 85K Writing Challenge?
ANNE: 85K90 is a good timeline to shoot for but it’s arbitrary and might not fit your story or your circumstances. Especially during editing which can take unexpected turns or require sudden bouts of research. Take the time to do it right even if it means going over your deadlines.
Be proud of yourself.
About Anne Walk
Anne Walk is a visual artist turned writer working on her first novel. She has a blog where she posts updates on her progress along with tips and tricks she’s learning along the way, helpful resources, and bits of writing. Visit Anne at bonybits.com.